Dozens of cars and onlookers joined the community celebration
LA CENTER — Seniors at La Center High School (LCHS) had their chance to celebrate an unusual graduation this weekend with a good old, classic parade.
Dozens and dozens of blue and white adorned vehicles lined the streets of the city of about 3,500 residents. The parade route stretched throughout the town’s neighborhood and downtown, including the police and fire departments.
“It’s difficult because they’re missing all those moments from prom to sports, everything that’s just kind of part of that senior year, that last chance,” said Tracie Banholzer, who’s son is a LCHS 2020 grad. “ It’s very rewarding in its own way to see all these kids come through. It’s kind of surreal for me, because I’m having a senior that’s graduating going off to college.”
The parade is just one of several smaller or socially distanced events parents of graduates are putting on when they can this summer. On Friday, students picked up their cap and gowns, and many wore them proudly as they rode through town.
Many community members and parents lined the streets’ camping out in the heavy rain beneath canopies and with heaters to wave and cheer for the graduates of 2020.
“It’s been a roller coaster, that’s for sure,” said LCHS mom Lori Nelson. “I think it helps them though. I think they’ll actually be more prepared for the world and the changes and the ups and downs. Just take life in stride. There’s gonna be bumps along the way and if you just work through that, there is a brighter future ahead.”
Due to COVID-19, many in-person graduations for high schoolers and college students have been postponed indefinitely. In La Center, they are hoping for August, but want to give as many opportunities for the graduates to be appreciated and encouraged as possible.